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Against The Wind

by

Bob Seger



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Seger said of this song: "My old friend Glenn Frey of the Eagles had an idea that our guitarist Drew Abbott should play along with the piano solo. He and I then went out and did the background vocals together. The line 'Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then' bothered me for the longest time, but everyone I knew loved it so I left it in. It has since appeared in several hits by other artists, so I guess it's OK."

Seger later clarified: "The only thing that bothered me about that phrase was the grammar. It sounded grammatically funny to me. I kept asking myself, 'Is that correct grammar?' I liked the line, and everybody I played it for – like Glenn and Don (Henley) – were saying, 'That's the best line in the song,' but I couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't right. But I slowly came around. You have to understand that songwriters can't punctuate anything they write. I work in such a narrow medium that I tend to second-guess things like that. As a matter of fact, I've seen that line in a few other songs since I came up with it, so I guess it was okay after all."
Seger won the 1980 Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal Grammy award for this song.
The Highwaymen, which is a Country supergroup consisting of Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, remade this song for their debut album. (thanks, Danny - Waterville, NY)
Bob Seger
Bob Seger Artistfacts
More Bob Seger songs
More songs with weather conditions in the title
More songs about getting older
More songs about looking back on fond memories
More songs that won Grammys

Comments (36):

'Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then'
I think we've all thought that at one time or another!!!
On April 27th 1980, "Against The Wind" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #54; and on June 8th it peaked at #5 (for 3 weeks) and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
It reached #6 in Canada and #8 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
Was track one of side two on the his 11th studio album, 'Against The Wind', and on April 27th, the album reached #1 (for 6 weeks) on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
Three other tracks from the album also made the Top 100; "Fire Lake" (at #6), "You'll Accomp'ny Me" (at #14), and "The Horizontal Bop" (at #42)...
Mr. Seger will celebrate his 69th birthday in nine days on May 6th, 2014.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Against the Wind is Special to me because I was always a big Seger fan but truly hated this song. Then every time I watch Forrest Gump I listen to it during the running parts. Now 30 years has gone by and I purchase"Ultimate Hits" and I love this song, I mean I can't get enough, I lust for it. The interlude with guitar and piano mixed is fantastic, the words speaking to all of us who have made mistakes and trying to grow from them, the sex when he talks of his old love in the beginning. I have listened to this over 200 times in 6 months, sometimes 4 or 5 times in a row. Seger has always been one of the best singer/songwriters just like the Boss and Billy Joel, and I am sure this song is his best work!
- Adam, Hanover, MD
Every time I hear this song it reminds me of college - I knew the song since I was younger in the late 80's but by the mid 90's when it appeared in Forrest Gump and subsequently in the soundtrack as well, I started listening to Seger more and more. Around the same time his greatest hits vol 1 came out as well and I was determined to just buy every Seger album I could get my hands on... Anyways, I always think if this song as a turning point in one's life - going from a child to an adult whether male or female I guess. How it is a harsh reality to understand that things are not the same when you get older... How she swore that it never would end... and also the naivety and innocence being young has on us... Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.... Responsibility and consequence are words that have more meaning when you can no longer move 8 miles a minute for months at a time and break all of the rules that would bend ... Drifter's days are past me now, so much more to think about -- deadlines and commitments, what to leave in and what to leave out... one coming to the realization that there is more to life than the simple things - that decision have to eventually be made, career paths decided, family, marriage... at the same time it is a poignant reflection back on how good the simple days were and how you seem to have it all when you are younger - and in a way the wind is at your back -- but as you get older, life changes and things get more difficult, decisions are harder and have more consequences -- thus you are Against the Wind ... such a beautifully poetic, well written song with a beautiful melody, arrangement, chord progression, back ground vocals from the Eagles Henley and Frey, and passionate singing from the man himself... an American gem is what this song is.
- Greg, Harrington Park, NJ
in response to Jomeone, Plano, TX-
"Against the Wind" played in "For Love of the Game" which starred Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston, also with John C. Reilly. Costner plays an aging pitcher who is at the end of his career and possibly his relationship as well. Hope this helps.
- John, Moore, OK
Hi All, can anyone tell me,if bob seger ever recorded walking in memphis?, cheers graham.
- graham, chelmsford, United Kingdom
I love the piano solo in this and have been trying to find a free download for the sheet music but no luck. Looks like I'll have to break down and buy it.
- Randy, Houghton Lake, MI
My mom passed away of cancer several years ago when I was a teenager and she requested this song be played at her funeral. This song definitely mirrors her life, and due to these circumstances, mine as well. I love this song because I listen to it and it gives me strength in knowing that even with all of the hardships life can throw our way, we can still keep going. Beautiful song.
- Angela, Houston, TX
One of my favorite song writers. Every song brings me back to a time and place, and who I was with. Went to many concerts including the last one at the Garden NYC. Twenty years were did they go twenty year I don't know. You guys sounded the same twenty years later. Hats off to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.
Paul Green Brook,NJ
- Paul, Greenbrook, NJ
Against the Wind is, for me too, a personal anthem. I left Detroit as a poor kid at 18 years old. Joined the military. Had no money, no prospects. Worked hard. Got a career--many committments, etc. Many new cities, new friends, new family. Always struggling "against the wind". Chokes me up now as an old Detroit native, now aging... Best Seger song ever, among many great ones.
Ed, Alabama
- Edward, Birmingham, AL
Bob Seger must have roots in Alabama well I know he hung out in muscle shoals,Al. But he is kewl enough to be an official Alabamian!
- steve, coldwater, AL
I have long been a Seger fan, and this to me is his best work ever.
Gorgeous guitar and piano, with Seger himself's vocals perfectly conveying his melancholy.
I am so glad that he decided to leave in the line that has long jumped out at me "wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."
Yes, it is mangled English, but it is the best way he could have possibly expressed the wistful desire to go back to a past, not knowing what you know now, but being as young, innocent, and energy as back then, when you were at your happiest time.
Another great piece from Seger is "Still the Same."
- oldpink, New Castle, IN
Wow, I have a radically different take on this song; it speaks volumes to me . . . the first verse reminds me of spending time in the back seat of my car with my high school girlfriend, with the radio playing low. We swore to stay together forever, now I have to look her up in my yearbook just to remind myself. If I knew then what I know now, it would sure have taken all the powerful emotions out of the way we felt.

Verse two makes me think about how years passed and I traveled away into the military in the late 70's. I met a lot of people around who swore to be friends only to be gone in a few months. That was also a time of rampant drug use with many of the military personnel coming back from Vietnam. Amphetamines like white cross, speed balls, and other powders were causing many to 'lose their way' and they were 'living to run and running to live' & 'moving eight mile a minute for months at a time'. Running was a way to use the drug and how also a person acts when taking amphetamines. Moving very fast and staying awake for weeks, months at a time was typical. Now to do all this, you must break many rules, which will get you kicked out of everywhere . . . you'll need a new place to stay 'searching for shelter again and again'.

Then in verse three you grow up and conform back into society, stop drifting and get a job. But you remember where you have been . . . you're older, but still runnin' against the wind.
Good tune. It was covered by Brooks and Dunn (?) for the television show King of the Hill.
- Bruce, Columbia, SC
I heard was listening to this song on my IPOD and it brought back memories of a movie or TV show it played on. Not Forrest Gump. I can't recall what it was. It seems like some sort of separation was occurring - family, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. I've googled it but no hits came up. Any ideas?
- Jomeone, Plano, TX
i listend to this sogn the day i left from my first tour overseas pure classic i also listend to it the day i went back for the 2nd and next month again for the 3rd , his lyrics in this say so much about everyone u can really relate , a song about life a song to big for life itself !
- ben, battle mountain, NV
to Johny in LA same formula for Bruce Springsteen...
- nathan, from the country of, Canada
It plays in the running scene where what looks like arizona and he's about to stop and start walking back
- nathan, from the country of, Canada
This song was playing on my car stereo on my way to pick up my soon-to-be girlfriend for our (and my) first date. Coincidentally, this song also marks the first time I got laid! Boo-yeah!
Atta-boy, Bob!
- Ed, Incognito, IL
For those who said it is played during the running scene, it does, only at the very end, you have to listen very carefully to hear it. It is overplayed by Jackson Brown's "Runnin on Empty" and Fleetwood Mac's "You Can Go Your Own Way"
- Matthew, East Brunswick, NJ
Yep. This is one of my all time favorites. And his Greatest Hits album is my top favorite album. I have never tired of it. When I'm driving anywhere through Oz, I always make sure I've got that album with me. Its an all-time must have.
- marc, perth, Australia
Posted on 11/5/2007. Possibly my favorite song from one of my all-time favorite artists, consequently making this one of my all-time favorite songs. Like The Eagles, I always loved Bob Seger's country-rock style. "Against The Wind", like "Shame On The Moon", "Night Moves", "Still The Same", among others were generally simple songs just strumming along on the acoustic guitar with some rootsy piano to go along with it and some soulful background singers (or in the case of "Against The Wind" background vocals by the aforementioned Eagles). But they were great songs with great lyrics & stories and he made them sound so good! They had a nice earthy feel to them. I've been fortunate to have seen him 3 times in concert - in 1986, 1995, and recently in 2007 (where during "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" he sang, "so now sweet 16's turned 61!"). Thank you, Bob. Your music has enriched my life.
- David, Deerfield Beach, FL
2 years ago i lost the clostest thing i had to a mother and this song really hits me hard. The line "surrounded by strangers i thought were my friends" really speaks to me, because of the family breakup the was a result of the death
- Asa, moweaqua, IL
This song brings back alot of memories of the 80s
- Tyrone Collins, Chicago, IL
I've always appreciated Mr. Seger's work eversince I was a kid. This song perhaps most of all, those lonely piano chords and lyrics are really powerful. I'd always listen to this song ever now and then in high school and now in college since its for me its one of those songs that helps put things in perspectives, of fleeting youth and lost loves, memories and experiences that always made me think of how short our lives are and how we have to live with no regrets just enjoy it all while we can. A truly classic peice of music.
- Denton, South Sioux City, United States
Oh yes, in my post I failed to mention something of importance. After my Detroit to Houston move in 1981, Bob toured shortly thereafter, riding "The Distance" album in '83. WHAT A SHOW at Houston's Summit! He dedicated "Boomtown Blues" to all of us "Snowbirds" in attendance that night. Perfect....A song about leavin' Motown for warmer pastures. And I quote: "Look what you win, but look what you lose.....Stuck here in Heaven with these Boomtown Blues". Man....did he ever nail it THAT TIME!!! The man surely had his finger on the pulse of all of us Michiganders, getting settled in our new lives in Houston. If you listen carefully, after Alto's sax solo, he hollers: HOUSTON!!! As if we didn''t know. This type of inner feeling for his fans is what m,akes us all feel so close to him.....and we always will.....

Again, God Bless and keep all of you......
- Bernie, Detroit, MI
I've been into Seger's music since "East Side Story" on Hideout Records (in East Detroit), released in 1966. 1980's "Against the Wind" though, is my personal anthem. I know we all say that Bob's songs "speak to us" because they DO! The lyrics, such as " Livin' to run and runnin' to live.....never carin' bout payin' or even how much I owed" Who hasn't gone through THAT phase at one time or another? And the line that chokes me up: "Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends, just gettin' further and further from my home"......Man, that was me at the time of my big, life-changing (and how!) move from my home in Detroit, Michigan to Houston, Texas in 1981. Man, was I lonely.....didn't have too damn much time for that, though....Houston was bursting with cash and I was gettin' me some.....rapidly! All in all, Texas has been quite good to me, but Michigan will ALWAYS be home, folks. And Ann Arbor, to me, is MECCA! Home of Rockin' Robert, as Arthur Penhallow named him so many years ago.
We've never met, but are kindred souls nonetheless...it's just so.
Thanks for reading.....God Bless....
- Bernie, Detroit, MI
Most Seger songs have the same formula: Teenage Life.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
one of my alltime favorites, it really speaks to me, the certain kind of people born to run, for an unspoken but understood reason to run against the wind
- Corey, Woodstock, VT
To me, this song is obviously a nostalgic lookback back at ones life. Young love, swearing commitment, then moving on as we all have in our lives. Possibly an unstable period, moving away from home (Segers drifter comment.) Growing older and having more and more commitments and less time. Teenage years to young adult to mature responsible adult(deadline and commitments.) This song really relates to me as it does so many of us. It also takes me back..grew up listening to Seger. The most nostalgic part of the song is:

Janey was lovely, she was the queen of my nights
There in the darkness with the radio playlng low
And the secrets that we shared
The mountains that we moved

thanks
- Terry, Pittsburgh, PA
Big Seger fan! This is a great one! takes me back.
- Geno, Peoria, IL
I think it was used in Forest Gump. It was on the soundtrack.
- AJ, Cleveland, GA
Good song, powerful to hear live.
- Kyle, Belleville, Canada
To me, this song will always be about going against the grain, toughening oneself to face the world.

And yes, this song was featured in the Forrest Gump movie. It was played during the running scene and yes, it more or less describes the trials and tribulations that Forrest Gump went thru, running against the wind of his life. In the third line of the song, Bob Seger referred to Janey. In Forrest Gump it was Jenny.

Glen Frey may have helped to contribute to the song. Bob Seger to some extent had returned the favour earlier on in an Eagles hit "Heartache Tonight"
- Alan, Singapore, Singapore
I think that the words have close connection with Forrest Gump movie. Does anybody know anything about it?
- Honzin, Prague, Czech Republic
This song has been covered by The Highwaymen; Brooks & Dunn
- Ted, Loveland, CO
I love this song ,I was really surprised to find so few post comments. The lyrics are tight and the piano solo with the guitar coming in behind it has a real lonesome feel. Classic...
- rich, elkins, WV
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